Michele Bachmann 2012? Congresswoman to Form Presidential Exploratory Committee

Michele Bachmann 2012? Congresswoman to Form Presidential
Exploratory Committee

March 24th, 2011

Aliyah Shahid, New York Daily News

Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory
committee in early June, according to a published report.
Sources told CNN the move could come even sooner, allowing her to participate
in early Republican presidential debates in New Hampshire, South Carolina and
California.
“She’s been telling everyone early summer,” one of the sources told CNN’s
website. “If [debate sponspors] come to us and say, ‘To be in our debates, you
have to have an exploratory committee,’ then we’ll say, ‘Okay, fine … I’ll go
file the forms.’”
The decision to form the committee is an important step in any candidate’s
bid for the Oval Office because
it’s a significant fund-raising tool that generally signals an upcoming run.

The GOP’s Political Salvation: Impeachment?

The GOP’s Political Salvation: Impeachment?

March
25th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

So far, the first person to seriously raise the issue
of impeaching Barack Obama over his
illegal,
unconstitutional war in Libya
is Dennis
Kucinich
. That means the man whose ideas may do the most to unite the
Republican Party is a Democrat.
To be clear, impeachment is a constitutional remedy for a president intent
upon violating its strictures. Unfortunately, it is also a political act, which
means politicians must feel they have sufficient support before undertaking it.
Many authorities have stated the Libyan intervention rises to the level of an
impeachable offense. However, it might simultaneously be the perfect storm
necessary to pluck Obama out of office, splinter the Democratic coalition, or
weld Republicans together.
Months into the new Republican Congress, the GOP Establishment worries it
will not be able to corral the Tea Party. Despite pseudoconservative attempts
to order Tea Party members around
and establishment
promises to “co-opt them,”
this citizens’ uprising induces fear and loathing
in the political class on both sides of the aisle.
To mollify their constituents, Congressional Republicans have tried to prove
they are serious about the Constitution and cutting the deficit. They have
passed bills requiring members to cite specific constitutional authorization. To
date, the Beltway Republicans’ miniscule budget cuts not satisfied the
disaffected populist movement.
What might work? Impeachment.
King Obama’s
war-by-decree
was launched with zero constitutional authority. Obama did not
obtain a declaration of war, nor even a Congressional “authorization of
force”….
Read
more
.

Bad omen for Obama; Locked out of White House

Bad omen for Obama; Locked out of White House

Jeannie DeAngelis

 

Other
than spending quality time in Rio
de Janeiro
, Barack Obama
has had a rough couple of weeks. First, there was the promise of no
boots
on the ground in
Libya immediately followed the potential for boots on the ground in Libya. Then
the exotically titled “Operation Odyssey
Dawn
” got the lowest
public
approval rating of
any military operation in recent history. Obama’s “kinetic” endeavor seems to be surrounded by
confusion and inconsistency, as well as humiliating “return the
Peace
Prize
” buzz.  By all
definitions, Obama is in the process being
slammed by a force generated by his own outstanding competency at being
outstandingly incompetent.

Vowing to never give up the Nobel
Peace Prize, the President, after being
upstaged
by French
President Nicolas Sarkozy, returned
early
from a “five-day”
trip to Latin America and nonchalantly “strolled up” to the French doors of the
Oval Office only to find them locked. Anxious for solace behind the Resolute
Desk
and far from the
dissonance of world events, Obama shook the handle to no avail.

Hearing about
the President’s dilemma brought back a distinct childhood memory.   Locked out
of the house, my 4′ 11” Sicilian grandmother located and dragged two milk
crates alongside the Brooklyn domicile, balanced one on top of the other,
shimmied through a very highly situated kitchen window and slid head first into
the sink before jumping from the counter to the floor.

After realizing the door to the Oval
Office was locked, Obama also managed to gain entry.  The President “appeared to
be whistling” as he made his way down from the secured entrance “to another set
of doors that” that swung open and warmly welcomed the returning
Commander-in-Chief.

Grandma Josephine was resourceful,
fiercely independent and fully assured that despite being locked out of the
house the situation in no way indicated she was no longer welcome on the
premises.  On the other hand, based on the sequence of events, public opinion,
and circumstances surrounding anything even remotely involving Barack Obama of
late, he probably wondered at least for a second or two whether the universe was
conveying a message that paralleled his recent words to Eliot
Engel.

Congressman Eliot
Engel (D-NY) said, “Everything that the President has indicated to me [about
Libya] is that we expect to be ‘in
and out
‘ very quickly.”

The vision of
President Obama encountering a locked door and having to search for another way
to access the “seat
of power
” drips with
ironic
imagery
.  Could it be that,
without milk crates, ingenuity and self-determination, the same type of speedy
timeframe threatens to befall Strolling Doorknob Jiggler Barack Obama’s
Washington DC tenure?

The Oval Office lock out could be
dress rehearsal for what lies ahead for Barack in the coming year. For President
“in and out very quickly” Obama, the impenetrable, dead-bolted entryway may be a
prophetic message to a man whose abysmal domestic and foreign policy skills tend
to indicate that after the 2012 election, Barry’s house keys will no longer fit
the door.

Author’s content:
www.jeannie-ology.com

White House: Libya fight is not war, it’s ‘kinetic military action’

White House: Libya fight is not war, it’s ‘kinetic military action’

In the last few days, Obama administration officials have frequently faced the question: Is the fighting in Libya a war?  From military officers to White House spokesmen up to the president himself, the answer is no.  But that leaves the question: What is it?

In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer.  “I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone,” Rhodes said.  “Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end.”

Rhodes’ words echoed a description by national security adviser Tom Donilon in a briefing with reporters two weeks ago as the administration contemplated action in Libya.  “Military steps — and they can be kinetic and non-kinetic, obviously the full range — are not the only method by which we and the international community are pressuring Gadhafi,” Donilon said.

Rhodes and Donilon are by no means alone.  “Kinetic” is heard in a lot of descriptions of what’s going on in Libya. “As we are successful in suppressing the [Libyan] air defenses, the level of kinetic activity should decline,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a meeting with reporters in Moscow Tuesday.  In a briefing with reporters the same day from on board the USS Mount Whitney, Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, said, “The coalition brings together a wide array of capabilities that allow us to minimize the collateral damage when we have to take kinetic operations.”  On Monday, General Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, said of the coalition forces, “We possess certainly a very significant kinetic capability.”  And unnamed sources use it too. “In terms of the heavy kinetic portion of this military action, the president envisions it as lasting days, not weeks,” an unnamed senior official told CNN Saturday.

“Kinetic” is a word that’s been used around the Pentagon for many years to distinguish between actions like dropping bombs, launching cruise missiles or shooting people and newer forms of non-violent fighting like cyber-warfare.  At times, it also appears to mean just taking action. In a 2002 article in Slate, Timothy Noah noted a passage from Bob Woodward’s book, Bush at War:

For many days the war cabinet had been dancing around the basic question: how long could they wait after September 11 before the U.S. started going “kinetic,” as they often termed it, against al Qaeda in a visible way?

Now, White House officials are referring to the war in Libya not as a war but as a “kinetic military action.” As common as “kinetic” might be among those in government, it still seems likely to strike members of the public as a euphemism that allows the Obama administration to describe a war as something other than a war.

Gingrich On Libya: Thankfully, French Not Distracted By Brackets

Gingrich On Libya: Thankfully, French Not Distracted By Brackets

Evan McMorris-Santoro | March 18, 2011, 12:01PM

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

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Libya, Newt Gingrich

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Newt Gingrich told reporters today that the Libyan rebels have France’s lack of bracket fever to thank for the no-fly zone that will soon protect them from aerial attacks by embattled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Asked about the U.N. Resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya — something Gingrich has been pushing for a while now — Gingrich ripped President Obama for not acting sooner, and again mocked him for his March Madness bracket.

“I was, frankly, very disappointed that [Nicolas] Sarkozy did not share with us his Final Four picks,” Gingrich said, referring to the French president, who’s nation has led the push for military intervention in Libya. “And i think it’s his failure to understand the Final Four that allowed him to focus on Libya on a way tha. Clearly, if he had understood the American system he would have understood that his is not a good week to deal with Libya because this is the week to deal with Kansas, Ohio State, and you know things that were really important.”

The New York Times reported today that the U.S. “strongly backed” the Lebanese-sponsored resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, although France and Great Britain are expected to take the lead in implementing it.

Gingrich said even though the resolution came long after he first suggested the U.S. get directly involved in the conflict, it’s not “too late” for the the no-fly zone to work.

“It’s never too late when dealing with a small dictator,” Gingrich said. “If they want to, they can get rid of Qaddafi.”

But the former House speaker, and 2012 presidential exploratory campaign explorer, said he wishes the U.S. had acted sooner, and he slammed Obama for not acting more like his predecessors. Gingrich called it “ironic” that Obama announced Qaddafi should go back on March 3, but waited until now to back a no-fly zone.

Gingrich said some of Obama’s Republican predecessors in the White House would have played things very differently.

“This is the opposite of Eisenhower and Reagan, neither of whom would have held a press conference and both of whom would have made sure he was gone,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich was vague about what exactly those two presidents did to “get rid” of dictators that Obama hasn’t, but he made it clear he thinks Obama’s way is the wrong — and dangerous — way to go.

“This idea that we posture, we talk, we have diplomatic meetings … this is very weak,” he said. “It makes us look weak and uncertain. It increases the danger in the Persian Gulf.”

Asked what he’d do if he was running the show, Gingrich was cryptic.

“In a situation like this, you start by communicating to the military that he’s going to be gone and they should be on your side,” he said. “In a lot of cases the militaries got it and said ‘we’re with you guys.’”

Beyond that, he said he’d look to the past: “I think you ought to study Eisenhower and Reagan and the things they did,” he said. “There are lots of ways to not necessarily use American troops that have enormous impact on a country the size of Libya.”

Whatever happens, Gingrich said the U.N. resolution means the West has made a promise to rid Libya of the man who’s ruled there for more than 40 years.

“The Western democracies have now made clear that they’re prepared to get rid of Qaddafi,” he said. “They better have a plan to for getting rid of Qaddafi.”

Update: It’s worth noting that though the French don’t have a March Madness bracket to contend with, France has its own sports fixations that the government there has turned into official business. Last year, after the French lost out in the World Cup soccer tournament too early for the tastes of most in the country, Sarkozy and the parliament got directly involved in the “crisis.”

BARACK OBAMA: THE WEAKEST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY?

BARACK
OBAMA: THE WEAKEST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY?

President Barack Obama’s supporters believed that he had the
vision to transform America

Friday March 18,2011

By Anna Pukas

INEFFECTUAL, invisible, unable to honour pledges
and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we
can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’…

Let us cast our minds back to those remarkable days in November
2008 when the son of a Kenyan goatherd was elected to the White House. It was a
bright new dawn – even brighter than the coming of the Kennedys and their new
Camelot. JFK may be considered as being from an ethnic and religious minority –
Irish and Catholic – but he was still very rich and very white. Barack Obama,
by contrast, was a true breakthrough president. The world would change because
obviously America had changed.

Obama’s campaign slogan was mesmerisingly simple and brimming with self-belief:
“Yes we can.” His presidency, however, is turning out to be more about “no we
won’t.” Even more worryingly, it seems to be very much about: “Maybe we can… do
what, exactly?“ The world feels like a dangerous place when leaders are seen to
lack certitude but the only thing President Obama seems decisive about is his
indecision. What should the US do about Libya? What should the US do about the
Middle East in general? What about the country’s crippling debts? What is the
US going to do about Afghanistan, about Iran?

What is President Obama doing about anything? The most alarming answer – your
guess is as good as mine – is also, frankly, the most accurate one. What the
President is not doing is being clear, resolute and pro-active, which is surely
a big part of his job description. This is what he has to say about the popular
uprising in Libya: “Gaddafi must go.” At least, that was his position on March
3.

Since then, other countries – most notably Britain and France – have been
calling for some kind of intervention. Even the Arab League, a notoriously
conservative organisation, has declared support for sanctions. But from the
White House has come only the blah-blah of bland statements filled with
meaningless expressions

 

and vague phrases. Of decisive action and
leadership – even of clearlydefined opinion – there is precious little sign.

What is the Obama administration’s position on the protests in the Gulf island
state of Bahrain, which the authorities there are savagely suppressing with the
help of troops shipped in from Saudi Arabia? What is the White House view on
the alarming prospect of the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia itself? Who
knows? Certainly not the American people, nor the leaders of nations which
would consider themselves allies of America.

The President has not really shared his views, which leads us to conclude that
he either doesn’t know or chooses, for reasons best known to himself, not to
say. The result is that a very real opportunity to remove an unpredictable
despot from power may well have been lost. Who knows when or if such an
opportunity will come along again?

Every day for almost the last two months our television screens, radio
broadcasts and the pages of our newspapers have been filled with the pictures,
sounds and words of the most tumultuous events any of us can remember in the
Arab world. The outcome of these events, once the dust has settled, could
literally change the world. Yet Obama seems content to sit this one out. He has
barely engaged in the debate. Such ostrich-like behaviour is not untypical of
the 49-year-old President who burst through America’s colour barrier to become
the first African-American to occupy the White House.

Two days after taking office in January 2009, he pledged to close down the
prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, which has become notorious for holding detainees
for years without trial. Obama promised to lose the prison within 12 months and
to abolish the practice of military trials of terrorism suspects. It was an
important promise. America’s reputation had been severely tarnished by
revelations about the conditions at Guantanamo, by reports of waterboarding and
extraordinary rendition (transporting prisoners to a third country for torture)
and by the appalling treatment of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Closing Guantanamo was a redemptive gesture. Two years on, not only is the
prison still in use but its future is as assured as ever. Ten days ago, the
President signed an executive order reinstating the military commissions at the
island prison. Human rights organisations were outraged. “With the stroke of a
pen, President Obama extinguished any lingering hope that his administration
would return the United States to the rule of law,” said Amnesty International
while Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union,
declared the President’s action to be “unlawful, unwise and un-American.”

White House spokesmen insisted the President was still committed to closing
Guantanamo, which currently has 172 detainees in custody. It was Congress, they
said, that had refused to sanction the transfer of the prisoners to the US
mainland for trial, leaving no option but to keep the prison open in Cuba. Very
little has been achieved in the quest to secure peace in the Middle East. Under
Obama, US foreign policy is founded on extreme caution. At first this
cool-headedness was a welcome change from the naked aggression of George W Bush
and his henchmen Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

It is also true that the President is constantly stymied by a hostile,
Republican-ruled Congress. But Obama’s apparent reluctance to engage with
momentous events is starting to look like more than aloofness. Some tempering
of America’s role as the world’s No1 busybody may be no bad thing but under
Obama the US appears to be heading towards isolationism. He is hardly doing
much better at home. Economically, the US is in big trouble but the national
debt is not shrinking.

Ditto the country’s ecological health; the American love affair with the car
and oil remains undiminished despite any alleged commitment. But the White
House appears to shy away from any tough action. The energy with which Obama
entered the White House seems to have all gone in the push to bring in health
care reform, which many Americans didn’t want (or still don’t realise they
want).

All of which means that it is starting to look as if Obama and the Democratic
Party have but one aim in mind for the rest of this presidential term: to get
elected for a second. That means not doing anything that might upset any number
of special interest or niche groups, which in effect means not doing very much
at all. So, not too many harsh but necessary measures to tackle the financial
deficit; no clear direction on where America goes with Afghanistan, even though
the war there is going nowhere except from bad to worse.

The Obama government can’t even give clear direction on whether the American
people are in danger of exposure to nuclear fallout from Japan following the
devastating earthquake and tsunami. The US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin
advised San Francisco residents to stock up on radiation antidotes, prompting a
run on potassium iodide pills, while the President said experts had assured him
that any harmful radiation would have receded long before reaching the Western
shores of the US.

Yes we can was a noble and powerful mantra which secured for Barack Obama the
leadership of the free world. Those than can, do. It is time he started doing.

Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/235196/Barack-Obama-The-Weakest-President-in-history-Barack-Obama-The-Weakest-President-in-history-#ixzz1GyvOQEVl

Everybody’s Asking ‘Is Obama Mentally Present?’

Everybody’s Asking ‘Is Obama Mentally Present?’

M Catharine Evans

 


Conservatives aren’t the only ones befuddled
by the President’s Gridiron dinner antics, March madness picks and his strange
Saturday radio address focusing on the Paycheck Fairness Act when a government
shutdown has been looming for weeks.

Daily
Mail’s Max Hastings
calls Barack Obama “cool, cold, cerebral, and arrogant”
in a March 14 lament.

Hastings, like millions of Europeans, fell in lust
with the U.S President back in 2008 and now that the bloom is off the stem, he
wants to break up. Like most of Obama’s star-struck groupies he’s racking his
brain trying to understand what happened to the knight “mantled in a glittering
white cloak…the great speechmaker.”

On the Mideast, Afghanistan, the
debt, unemployment, and myriad domestic and international crises the One appears
“remote” displaying “a curious lack of interest.” Curiously, Hastings cites
Obama’s post-massacre Arizona speech when he “rose to extraordinary heights of
rhetoric” as the single exception to the president’s otherwise glaring
indifference in the face of so much turmoil.

Hastings contention that
Obama is “missing in action” makes us wonder whether the President was ever ‘in
the action’ to begin with. By now, those paying attention know the Chicago
trained community organizer did not come to lead but to act as a mouthpiece for
those who desire to change the founding fathers’ vision of America. And he needs
four more years to finish the job. Hastings all but admits this may be the
case:

While the world welcomed Obama as a transformational figure, he
shows no sign of wishing to fulfil any such grand role.

Indeed, the White
House is obsessed with a single issue: how to get its man re-elected in November
2012.

A Washingtonian who has studied the President at close quarters
said to me: ‘I think I understand him now. He’s a “pol” – a politico – who
learned his business in the Chicago machine.

In trying to
make sense of it all Hastings, being a good liberal Brit, scapegoats the
American people as “nutters” and dutifully bashes Sarah Palin as that “moose
hunting air-headed vice presidential candidate” whose “hick followers still
love” her, but “Lord, be thanked, the White House now seems safe from her.”

The reporter insists that the majority of Americans who live in the real
world reject the “Republican excesses,” and appreciate a “brilliant man” who
never says or acts “irrationally.”

Hastings refuses to speak ill of his
former idol, but by the end of the piece he expresses frustration at the
President’s refusal to man up and “fight tough fights.” But it can’t be the
President’s fault; he “was bound to succumb to the sordid demands of machine
politics.” Was that before 2008 or after?

The reporter can’t seem to
bring himself to admit he was powerless over the Obama machine, taken in by the
phony Axelrodian reality. Instead Hastings blames the “hicks” that did their
homework. Weren’t they the ones who  googled ‘Alinsky;’ were aghast when they
listened to Reverend Wright’s anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-white speeches;
and who discovered the “brilliant man” voted ‘present’ 129 times in the Illinois
State Senate?

A “Washington admirer” urges Hastings to “not lose faith”
in Barack Obama, that he “may still lay claim to greatness.” What a twisted and
doomed love story this presidency is turning out to be.

Read
more M.Catharine Evans at www.potterwilliamsreport.com

Obama’s First Two Years a Disaster for America

Obama’s First Two Years a Disaster for America

By Chad
Stafko

 

Recall the euphoria that surrounded Barack Obama during
the 2008 election season and after he was inaugurated as the 44th
President of the United States.  Life was going to be blue skies and rainbows,
or at least we were told, with hope and change on the way.  The American people
would be better off and so would our nation with Obama in control.  After a
little more than two years as the President, those blue skies have turned gray
with not the slightest hint of a rainbow.

Some professed that with Barack Obama as President, the staples of life
would become affordable if not altogether free.  Surely you remember Peggy Joseph who said, at
a Barack Obama campaign event in August 2008, that she would not have to worry
about paying for her gas and mortgage.  Consider what has happened to those
staples of life during the Obama presidency.
As of March 14, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline was
$3.57/gallon.  When Obama took office in January 2009, the price was
$1.81/gallon.  That represents more than a 90% increase in just over two
years.
To put that in perspective, assume you have a 40 mile round trip commute to
work, your car gets 20 miles per gallon and that prices remain the same going
forward.  Relative to January 2009, you are paying about $18 more per week and
about $72 more per month at the pump.
The pertinent question we might ask is, “What has President Obama done in
the past two years to limit the rise of oil and gasoline prices, if anything?”
The answer is…nothing.  If anything, his policies have contributed towards
rising prices.  Recall the moratorium he enacted on oil drilling following the
BP oil spill that further limited the supply of the commodity from our own
waters.  His failure to support drilling in ANWR and his overt allegiance to the
anti-drilling environmental fringe has also directly contributed to less supply
of oil and therefore higher oil prices.
Ms. Joseph also looked forward to Obama paying her mortgage.  Well, many
Americans don’t have to worry about a mortgage anymore, as they’ve had their
houses foreclosed.  In
2009
, a record 2,824,674 foreclosures took place, while 2,872,892
foreclosures occurred in
2010
.   In other words, 5.7 million families have lost their homes, but at
least they’re not up all night wondering how they will pay their
mortgage.
It just wasn’t supposed to be this way, at least in the eyes of the 53% of
voters who cast their ballot for Barack Obama.  After all, President Obama’s
policies
were going to reignite the economy and keep the unemployment rate
below 8% at least that is what we were told, thereby making those aforementioned
mortgages affordable.  The opposite has occurred.
In December 2008, President Bush’s final full month in office, the nation’s
unemployment rate stood at 7.3%.  From that point until December 2010, a period
in which Obama benefited from accommodative Democratic majorities in the House
and Senate, the unemployment rate rose to 10.1% at one time and remained at or
above 9.5% from July 2009 until November 2010.
This resulted despite unprecedented government spending labeled as
“economic stimulus.”
What happened?  Instead of a surge in America’s economic growth, we’ve seen
a surge in America’s deficit.  Under the direction of President Obama, the
United States has seen its deficit
increase
by more than $3 trillion or by nearly $10,000 for every man, woman,
and child in America.
Then there was the
promise
of “When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk, as President, you,
the public, will have five days to look online to find out what’s in it before I
sign it….” Again, the reality has been the complete opposite.
Rewind to March 2010, when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in reference to
the ObamaCare bill, said,
“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”  Really?  I
thought that 2,700 page bill would be posted on the Internet for all to view for
five days.  Instead, it was rushed through and pushed down our throats, despite
most Americans not in favor of it.  Again, Obama failed to deliver, as he has
time after time.
We are now just after the halfway point of the Obama presidency.  Based on
the facts, we are no better off as a nation than we were when Obama took
office.  The average American citizen has failed to see an improvement in his or
her lifestyle versus two years ago.  This is a presidency, up to this point,
that has been an absolute disaster for our nation and our people.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the
Midwest.  He can be reached at
stafko@msn.com

Obama the invisible

Obama the invisible

By JOHN PODHORETZ
Last Updated: 10:14 AM, March 16, 2011
Posted: 11:48 PM, March 15, 2011


Where is the president? The world is beset. Moammar Khadafy is moving
relentlessly to crush the Libyan revolt that once promised the overthrow of one
of the world’s most despicable regimes.
So where is the president?
Japan may be on the verge of a disaster that dwarfs any we have yet seen. A
self-governing nation like the United States needs its leader to take full
measure of his position at times of crises when the path forward is no longer
clear.
This is not a time for leadership; this is the time for leadership.
So where is Barack Obama?
The moment demands that he rise to the challenge of showing America and the
world that he is taking the reins. How leaders act in times of unanticipated
crisis, in which they do not have a formulated game plan and must instead
navigate in treacherous waters, defines them.
Obama is defining himself in a way that will destroy him.
It is not merely that he isn’t rising to the challenge. He is
avoiding the challenge. He is Bartleby the President. He would prefer
not to.
He has access to a microphone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If he tells
the broadcast networks in the middle of the day that he has a major address to
deliver on an unprecedented world situation, they will cancel their programming
for him.
And yet, since Friday and a press conference in which he managed to leave the
American position on Libya more muddled than it was before, we have not heard
his voice. Except in a radio address — he talked about education legislation.
And he appeared at a fund-raiser in DC. And sat down with ESPN to reveal his
NCAA picks.
He cannot go on like this. Niall Ferguson, the very pessimis tic economic his
torian, wrote the other day that the best we can now hope for is that Obama
leaves the country in the same kind of shape that Jimmy Carter left it in.
That doesn’t do Obama justice. Despite how disastrously he has handled the
crises of the past two months, he can still turn his presidency around on a
dime.
For Obama to save himself, he should be thinking about the example of an
unlikely Republican predecessor: Richard Nixon.
The multifarious crises the president now faces are eerily similar to the
kinds of calamities that greeted Richard Nixon in his first term from 1969-1972.
Then, as now, the world was on fire. Wars erupted between China and the Soviet
Union, India and Pakistan, even El Salvador and Honduras.
Jordan was nearly taken over from within by the Palestine Liberation
Organization. There were humanitarian disasters in Biafra (the result of civil
war), Bangladesh (due to flooding) and Nicaragua (deadly earthquake).
There was more, much more — including a war he inherited in Vietnam, just as
Obama has the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You get the point.
Nixon in 1968, unlike Obama 2008, was elected as a minority president with
only 43 percent of the vote. Yet, in 1972, he won what, in some measures, was
the most lopsided election in American history with 61 percent.
Nixon achieved it, in large measure, because he appeared to be a serious man
grappling in deadly earnest with the serious problems presented to him by a
world careening out of control.
He demonstrated high competency when it came to matters on the world stage. He and his team (primarily Henry Kissinger) developed coherent policies and strategies for coping with the world. There was no question, to friend or foe, that he was fully engaged, paying attention, deeply involved.
Nixon was an awful president in many ways, including in some of his
foreign-policy choices. But he left no doubt that foreign policy and America’s
leadership in the world outside its borders was of paramount importance to him.
All this had the effect of elevating Nixon during his time in office, so that
when it came to running against George McGovern in 1972, Nixon seemed like a
Titan and McGovern a pipsqueak.
How Nixon conducted himself in office in times of crises made possible his
triumphant re-election. Right now, how Obama is conducting himself in a time of
crisis is having the opposite effect.
He began his presidency as a potential colossus — but if he doesn’t change,
he will finish it as a pipsqueak. Pipsqueaks don’t win second terms.
johnpodhoretz@gmail.com

President Obama’s Trivial Pursuits

President Obama’s Trivial Pursuits

by Keith Koffler on March 15, 2011, 12:10 pm

The Middle East is afire with rebellion, Japan is imploding from an earthquake, and the battle of the budget is on in the United States, but none of this seems to be deterring President Obama from a heavy schedule of childish distractions.

The newly installed tandem of White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Senior Adviser David Plouffe were supposed to impart a new sense of discipline and purpose to the White House. Instead, they are permitting him to showcase himself as a poorly focused leader who has his priorities backward.

This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes.

Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course as president, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.

With various urgencies swirling about him, Saturday’s weekly videotaped presidential address focusing on “Women’s History Month” seemed bizarrely out of touch.

Obama Friday took time out to honor the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Thursday was a White House conference on bullying – not a bad idea perhaps, but not quite Leader of the Free World stuff either.

Obama appeared a little sleepy as he weighed in against the bullies, perhaps because he’d spent the night before partying with lawmakers as they took in a Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Bobcats game.

Meanwhile, the president has been studying for weeks whether to establish a No Fly Zone over Libya, delaying action while the point becomes increasingly moot as Qaddafi begins to defeat and slaughter his opponents. And lawmakers from both Parties are wondering why he seems to be AWOL in the deficit reduction debate.

The Libya indecision follows an inconsistent response to the protests that ousted former Egyptian President Mubarak and seemed to catch the White House off guard. The perfunctory response from the White House Monday to Saudi Arabia’s dispatch of troops to Bahrain suggested the administration wasn’t prepared for that one either.

But the fun stuff won’t end anytime soon. On Thursday, the Taoiseach of Ireland will be in town to help the president celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. And then Friday it’s off to Brazil for the start of a three-country Latin American tour.

Oddly, he’ll be missing Carnival, which went down last week.

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